What Happens if You Exercise Without Dieting?

What happens if you exercise without dieting?

Is it okay?

The short answer is that it entirely depends on your intentions. For those who want to build strength or flexibility, regular exercise is the perfect way to achieve this.

Proper exercise also offers you tons of other benefits, such as better sleep, improved mood, and reducing your risk for chronic disease. Working out is one of the healthiest things that you could do for your body and may help lead you to greater success!

Sadly, exercise only is incomplete. That means you can’t have an effective weight loss strategy without combining exercise with dieting. Our bodies are much more nuanced than simply calories in, calories out.

Simply put, if you’re hoping that exercise without incorporating diet will help you lose weight, then you’re in for a huge disappointment.

Read on to find out more.

What Happens If You Exercise Without Dieting?


a woman in blue shorts and pink top rides her bike for exercise

As previously stated, there are many incredible benefits from exercise! Below are a few things that happen to your body once you work out, even without a proper diet plan.

1. You Gain Muscle Simply by Exercising

Your muscle fibers tend to break when you exercise. And this assists them to build upon themselves, which makes your muscles larger.

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Muscles usually burn calories at a much faster rate than fat. So by gaining muscle, your system’s metabolism naturally rises.

While 10 pounds of muscle burns 50 calories per hour, 10 pounds of fat will only burn 20 calories per hour.

Your muscles are also useful in other ways. For example, strength training your muscles may help your bones stay strong as you grow old.

2. You Burn Calories

Exercise burns calories: this is something you already know. And as aforementioned, the more muscle you got to start with, the more calories you’ll naturally burn.

Below are some examples of exercises and the average number of calories they can burn:

  • Walking: 255 calories per hour
  • Power yoga: 364 calories per hour
  • Biking: 364 calories per hour
  • Resistance training/powerlifting: 455 calories per hour
  • Low impact aerobics: 455 calories per hour
  • Running: 455 calories per hour

3. Your Sleep Improves

Exercise is one of the healthy things to do if you’re having sleeping difficulties. Proper exercise can not only help you fall asleep faster, but it can also improve your quality of sleep.

That said, you’re advised not to exercise too late at night. And this is because your body releases endorphins during exercise, which are feel-good hormones that offer you extra energy and may make you feel more alert.

Working out also increases your core body temperature, and most people say it’s like having a hot shower to go out in the morning.

4. Better Mental Health

Another great advantage of exercise alone without dieting is that it improves your mental health. Researchers have concluded that a proper workout regime improves mental health by alleviating depression, anxiety, and negative mood.

The following are examples of mental health benefits you can expect:

  • Relieves stress
  • Enhances cognitive function
  • Improves mood
  • Improved endurance and stamina
  • Improves self-esteem

5. Life Satisfaction Goes Up

Increased exercise will undoubtedly make you feel better about your overall life.

If you’ve had a bad day, researchers recommend that you extend your normal workout routine by a few minutes. These Penn State researchers discovered that people’s satisfaction with life was significantly higher on days when they worked out more than usual.

Well, this is certainly a great reason to get up and start exercising!

6. You Help Lower Your Risk of Chronic Disease

In general, exercise plays a fundamental role in minimizing the progression of chronic diseases such as heart disease.

No matter if you have a family background of chronic disease or you simply want to increase your life expectancy, regular exercise can help! Recent studies have cited the significance of regular physical activity in reducing the risk of chronic disease.

But, this doesn’t mean taking crash diets and having bursts of exercising. It simply means the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, with a proper dieting plan and exercise being regular/ habitual parts of your everyday life.

Why Won’t You Lose Substantial Weight by Just Exercising and not Eating Right

a woman goes for a run with her trainer

Increased physical activity and reduced calorie intake are the cornerstones of weight control.

But, simply because you’re trying to shed some weight doesn’t mean that you got any greater insight into nutrition or food habits than those who aren’t trying to cut the excess weight.

That’s why most folks think that if they exercise without dieting that they’ll still achieve their weight loss goals.

So, why won’t this help?

1. Although You Burn Calories While Exercising, You Also Become Hungrier

It may seem confusing that although you’re exercising to lose weight, you start feeling hungry immediately after your workout is complete. However, there’s a reason for this.

Since you’re increasing your workout and burning more energy, it also means that your body will automatically realize more food is needed. As such, this can stimulate hunger hormones.

But this doesn’t mean you should skip your post-workout snack, because this might sabotage your efforts. That’s because you’ll put yourself in a huge calorie deficit and it might lead to binge eating.

The best thing to do after your workout is to eat a healthy snack with protein.

2. Sugar Addiction is a Real Problem!

While most people like to argue that sugar doesn’t play any role in obesity, the reality is that sugar addiction is a real thing. And this can include cravings, bingeing, and withdrawal symptoms.

Simply put, when your system is used to having sugar, it starts to depend on sugar as an energy source. So when it doesn’t receive sugar and requires to reroute energy from alternative sources, it leads to symptoms like gas and bloating, headaches, irritability, and lethargy.

And to stop such symptoms, you’ll need to take a bite of sugar.

3. If You Lack Certain Nutrients, You’ll Get Cravings

If you are consuming a diet that’s deficient in nutritional value or variety, then your body still requires those nutrients to perform its job, and that’s why you end up with cravings.

The ugly side is that if you’re lacking magnesium, you won’t crave avocados, which are naturally rich in magnesium. You’ll most likely crave chocolate.

Yes, cocoa has magnesium as well. However, you’ll likely crave chocolate candy, which is high in sugar. If you continue to try to fix your magnesium deficiency with some chocolate candy, then you’re subject to sugar addiction.

4. You Don’t Realize How Many Calories Are in Something

Typically, a medium serving of fast-food fries consists of around 365 calories. So if you consume an entire fast food meal, then you’re looking at 1000+ calories.

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As you know now, exercising burns around 200-500 calories per hour. That means that you’d need to exercise for over two hours to burn off that meal.

And the worst part is that fast food meal doesn’t possess much nutritional value because it’s packed with sugar and fat. As such, you’ll still feel hungry because of the nutritional deficiencies!

Learn more about the number of calories, bad fats, and sugar that are in certain foods, especially foods you get at restaurants.

Tips For Healthy Weight Loss

a woman in pink top and blue shorts drinks water before going for a bike ride

You might have heard some people say that abs are not made in the gym but the kitchen.

If you truly want to lose weight healthily, try incorporating some healthy eating habits into your workout routine to help you achieve your weight loss goals. Here are some basic diet tips you could use:

1. Cook at Home

There’s no denying that cooking at home is linked to a healthier diet irrespective of whether you know much about nutrition.

You could even make it a date with your partner to cook together and prepare a healthy meal. Other incredible meal subscription services assist you to put together healthy meals. It’s also worth mentioning that you should avoid spending lots of time grocery shopping!

2. Avoid Sugary Beverages!

One of the simplest methods of eating a cleaner and healthier diet is by getting rid of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, premade teas, sports drinks, and coffee drinks like frappuccinos.

When we choose to drink our calories, we’re mostly getting calories that don’t provide us with any nutritional value, and they won’t fill us up. Although these sugary drinks are alright on rare occasions, just keep them limited.

3. Substitute with Foods Richer in Nutritional Value

Opting for healthier choices is another thing to consider.

For instance, rather than regular potato fries that you purchase from a restaurant, try making your sweet potato fries at your home’s comfort and bake them in your oven. Besides offering you significantly less added sugar and fat, you can also regulate the amount of sodium in them.

Making such simple switches can help transform your eating lifestyle and ultimate weight loss.

4. Drink Enough Water

Undoubtedly, water is key to life! Your body’s cells need to be correctly hydrated to function well. When cells aren’t hydrated, they usually send signals to the brain that they’re starving for nutrients. But, they aren’t. They just require water to continue working. It’s worth mentioning that our bodies require more water than you might think.

Don’t also be fooled into thinking that soda, coffee, or even beer counts. It is strictly about pure, plain water. Always ensure that you drink an extra cup of water for each alcoholic or caffeinated beverage that you take.

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Caffeine and alcohol are regarded as diuretics, which means they usually pull water OUT of your body. Staying hydrated with water will always help!

Another good time you should drink water is when you become hungry between meals. Take around 12-16 ounces of water, then wait for 15 minutes and see whether you’ll still be hungry.

If you are, don’t forget to eat something healthy! And if you’re not, give it a few minutes. Again, ensure that you keep hydrating as you wait for your next meal.

Conclusion: Does Exercise Without Dieting Work?

If you’ve been wondering what happens when you exercise without dieting, you know now that you’ll be very disappointed. Your body is much more nuanced than simply burning some extra calories.

And the answer is No! Don’t expect to lose weight without adding dieting to your exercise.

But fortunately, there are numerous ways that you can change your diet to ultimately make weight loss easier.


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